First gay marriage takes place in Ireland

Nov 17, 2015 at 12:11 p.m. ET
Image: Miryana Slivenska/EyeEm Premium/Getty Images

History was made in Ireland today, when the first gay marriage took place at Clonmel registry office in Co Tipperary at 8:40 a.m.

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"It's great to be the first to do it", Cormac Gollogly, 35, told the Irish Times.

Gollogly married Richard Dowling, 35, from Athlone, after being engaged for five years and almost two months to the day after their civil partnership on Sept. 18.

Mary-Claire Heffernan, senior registrar for South Tipperary, who also played the role of solemniser at the couple's civil partnership, said it was an honour to be involved in the historic day.

"We were out at 8:30 a.m. so they could be the first married. There was great excitement", she said. "They contacted me during the week and said they would really like to be the first".

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After an overwhelming majority of people voted in favour of same-sex marriage in the Republic of Ireland in May (making the country the first in the world to decide on the issue via a public vote), Northern Ireland is the only part of the U.K. where gay marriage is not legal.

Since 2012, Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party has blocked same-sex marriage repeatedly by filing a "petition of concern" in the Stormont assembly. On Nov. 2, a majority of assembly members voted in favour of same-sex marriage for the first time, but the DUP blocked the motion with yet another petition of concern. This requires the proposal to achieve a cross-community majority.

Sinn Féin's Caitríona Ruane said that "history had been made" with the proposal receiving majority support for the first time: "This signals a major shift in society with more and more people supporting marriage equality for our LGBT community. This is a historic day but the campaign for marriage equality is not over and will not be until we have equality enshrined in legislation".

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